#MemberMonday: Marie-Eugénie Kaufmant

Marie-Eugénie Kaufmant 

le-cheval-au-theatreCaen University (France, Normandy), Professor of Spanish Literature of the Golden Age / ERLIS (Research team)

Associate Professor (maître de conférences), Brest University (France, Britany), 2005-2016

Accreditation to direct research (HDR), Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La défense University, 2015

PhD (2004), MA (2001), french « agrégation » in Spanish language (teaching accreditation, 2000) and BA (1998), Paris IV-Sorbonne University.


What got you in to history? Horse history?kaufmant

The horse led me to History, more exactly to the history of Spanish equestrian culture in literature. One of my earliest memories is the contact with an horse’s warm, odorous and reassuring muzzle! I spent my childhood , with all kind of animals, in the landscapes of Normandy’s Orne department, a well-known region of equestrian breeding close to the historical Haras du Pin.

This context and a passion for Golden Age literature and theater, mostly and both, explain my research interests, with a dissertation on Poetics of natural spaces in the comedia nueva (published in 2010, Casa de Velazquez, Madrid). My studies on open and natural spaces led me naturally to the important presence of horses in this Early Modern Theater. From space to horses, socio-dramatic mobility and equestrian symbolism in literature encouraged me to analyze, through dramatic texts, several aspects of the fascinating horse culture of the Spanish Golden Age and the Early Modern equestrian ideology, which are so predominant in these plays.

Who is your favorite historical horse ?

My favorite historical horse should be Babieca, the Cid’s one, because of the special adaptation of horse and rider with each other, perhaps the first literary, equestrian and historical couple of Spanish literature. But you might have gathered that I prefer mythical and legendary horses to historical ones. And, of course, my favorite mythical horse is Rocinante because of his foundational stature, since in Cervantes’s words and poetics, he is the first horse of all horses by name (Rocín-ante means ambiguously ‘old horse-before’), as the origins of horse literary history. It brings me pleasure to think that these mythical figures and their ironic names (Babieca and Rocinante) transcend the tragic fate of so many labour and war horses they can have represented historically. How many such warm historical and anonymous muzzles should have needed some affectionate care ?! In some way, I would like to believe that their tragic historical beings can be redeemed from anonymity and sublimed by the fascinating horse history and especially the literary one under the tutelary figure of Pegasus.

What are you working on now ?

According to the regional importance of horses in Normandy, one of the specialisms of Caen University is research on horses in all fields. Some colleagues from my research team ERLIS have already directed a seminar on horse culture in several linguistics areas (L’Imaginaire du Cheval). As a Profesor of Spanish literature, after the publication of my monograph (Le cheval au théâtre dans l’Espagne du Siècle d’or, Orbis Tertius, 2018), I am continuing my own research on horse culture and poetics in Hispanic literature and I am thinking about directing some collective work on horse history and literature in Hispanic fields.


#MemberMonday profiles the current activities of Equine History Collective Members. If you would like to be included, please contact us: equinehistory@gmail.com! 


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